ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12a.m. - 5a.m.

Martin Devlin: Blues need to win more than hearts and minds

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thursday, 21 February 2019, 11:30a.m.

The standard definition of optimism goes something like, "Hopefulness and confidence about the future or success of something".

One game into the new Super Rugby season and all is rosy it seems at the Blues. The new Blues. The revitalised Blues, the re-energised Blues, the resurgent Blues.

And all this after they LOST!!

That's right. The Blues did not win vs the Crusaders.

For the 20th successive time they failed to beat a rival NZ side, an inauspicious record that now dates back to week one of season 2016 when they barely overcame the Highlanders 33-31. They also, again, failed to close a game that was there for them to win.

So, apart from this unquantifiable "feel-good" factor what in fact has actually changed?

Rather a lot according to Crusaders coach Scott Robertson who post-match identified things like attention to detail, structure and right people in the right place as significant, tangible improvements.

Result aside it does seem obvious that this is/was a different Blues outfit - or is it? Or are most of us thinking this only because we're being constantly told such, sold the message so many times that eventually it sinks in and we start to believe?

Probably. But is that also necessarily a bad thing?

Optimism, especially in sport, can be incredibly contagious. And for a franchise that's been as troubled, as beleaguered, as brow beaten as the Blues an air of positivity might just be the missing ingredient they need.

The one undeniable truth to emerge from last Friday night is that the support base is suddenly a whole heap happier. People, i.e. Blues fans want them to improve. They care. They actually do care. And it's been a long time since anyone connected to the franchise could honestly say that.

Ultimately, though the only thing that counts is "W's", and the season will, as always, be defined on results and nothing else. Without doubt, the Blues are back and winning the battle for hearts and mind. All that's missing is a few more of the on-field kind.


ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12a.m. - 5a.m.